I am really surprised at how fast the two weeks (plus extra rest days) have flown by in month 2 of Insanity. It hasn’t been easy and it certainly hasn’t been boring, but I can honestly say that every day is challenging and I’m noticing some physical improvements:

– I can button my pants without sucking my gut in
– the seams aren’t straining on my pants when I sit down
– I got muscle definition in my upper arms
– digestion has improved and I’m not as bloated in the morning

As I mentioned earlier, I did lose 3 pounds after the first month of Insanity (hooray!) and I’ve gotten more muscular and definitely feel stronger, too! When I ask my husband for a massage, I don’t whimper anymore when he squeezes my aching shoulders (do note that the amount of force he used to use on me was barely enough to pop bubble wrap.) Now, my knotted shoulders can handle the massages and I don’t feel like such a weenie.

My workout days don’t correspond to the scheduled Insanity calendar because of all the days I took off here and there. I don’t feel like I slacked but at least I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to do it “just because.” It’s gotta be fun, right? :)

Thursday: Fit Test and Max Interval Circuit — Improvement!
When I did this same routine two weeks ago it was INCREDIBLY tiring, and today felt the same. After doing the Fit Test, even the warm-ups for the Max Interval Circuit was a challenge! My legs were tired, my arms were tired, and I moved nearly half as fast as the people on the DVD. But after a few minutes my blood was pumping again, and I was able to pick up the pace just a bit.

Oh yeah, Fit Test Results! Let me just say that I was actually cheering myself when I wrote down my results, and you can see why:

a LOT of improvement this week!

Some moves were still tough to improve upon, but overall I am a happy camper!

I feel so incredibly happy and accomplished, I’m not even going to talk about the rest of the butt-whipping workout. :)

Friday: Max Interval Plyo

I started my workout late in the afternoon, around 5:15 (I try to do it around lunchtime) and I normally like to do it before my husband gets home because I’m self-conscious about how I look when I exercise (tired, struggling, maybe grunting/whining too much.) but after I was done I told my husband, “Did you see me do push-ups??” He said no, because he knows how much I hate an audience. ;)

Monday: Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs

I don’t like Football Sprints.You’re running in place with a wide stance, palms facing outward. All that quick-stepping makes my body jiggle. Note to self: next time, tighter clothes!

image source: fitbomb.com

Tuesday: Core Cardio & Balance (supposed to be Max Recovery)

My shoulder felt tender so instead of doing Max Recovery I did Core Cardio & Balance today. My body felt like jello. I had very little energy, my muscles were fatigued even before I was done with the warm-up, and I blame it on poor food choices.

So pretty, but NOT the breakfast of champions. :(

Breakfast: rice krispies treats and coffee.
Lunch: corn chips, salsa and refried beans.

Lesson of the day: a good diet is just as important as good exercise!

Wednesday: Max Interval Circuit

I had more energy today than yesterday, and I made sure to eat a healthy breakfast (yogurt bowl) instead of eating just corn chips and rice krispies treats. My muscles didn’t feel as fatigued, but the workout was still challenging. Transitioning from the high-low jabs to high knees was tough. I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs so had to give my torso a good stretch and take a few deep breaths.

Friday: Max Recovery (supposed to be Core Cardio & Balance) PLUS Pure Cardio!

Yesterday I was busy with work and cleaning up around the house and didn’t have time for Insanity. Yes, it sounds like a poor excuse, but that’s the only excuse I have.

Max Recovery is all about stretching and strengthening. It’s difficult for me because I need a good warm up to get my blood pumping and my muscles flexible, so today I decided to get a really good warm up with Month 1’s Pure Cardio (about 37 minutes.) It paid off, because I felt better doing Max Recovery. Stretches in the beginning were still difficult, probably because I rested too long between DVDs, but overall I felt better doing the workout.

I started using Sunwarrior Protein Powder because so many people were raving about it. The first time I tried it I thought it was the grossest thing I ever tasted! Think of ginseng and licorice mixed together, and that’s what I thought the vanilla protein powder tasted like. Blech.

Solution? Add cinnamon and a ton of ice to make a slushie! I even added pumpkin pie spice, but it tastes nothing like the holiday treat:

84 calories per serving, but the taste may not be for everyone. Modify to your liking!

I think I’ll try the chocolate flavor next…in a smaller bag.

I’ve got one more week left for Insanity and I’m feeling excited, hopeful, anxious, and just want to DO BETTER! Can I be stronger? Faster? Can i jump higher and do more push-ups? We’ll see at the end of week 8!

Monday: Fit Test, Max Interval Plyo – Whipped, Tired

I forgot what it felt like on the first day of Insanity. Today was a very, VERY good reminder. But before I talk about the first workout…Fit Test Results!!!

Good…good…ooh, really good!…what the heck?!

Power Jumps seem to be my kryptonite, I just get weaker and weaker.

A gradual improvement, but low plank obliques were the same.

I was hoping I’d kick butt with the Fit Test, but it seemed more like a friendly pat of encouragement you give to someone who did less than ‘wow’. And look how I got progressively worse with Power Jumps…what gives??

The Fit Text is exhausting enough, adding the one hour Max Interval Plyo on top of it will kick, whip, and hand your butt right back to you! I definitely felt like it was the first day of Insanity. I couldn’t keep up with a LOT of the routines, my quads were super tired from the Fit Text and I felt like I couldn’t get a deep enough breath after doing switch kicks so had to rest, stretch and massage my midsection.

Tuesday: Max Interval Circuit – Body Aches & Watching Your Form

My body is aching like crazy today. My lats, my hips, my obliques…I couldn’t believe how tired I was after yesterday’s workout. And how hungry! Even after dinner I snacked on some chocolate candy my in-laws brought, corn chips, half a Snickers bar, and more chips (sweet-salty-sweet-salty.)

The warm-ups for Max Interval Circuit is what some of the regular exercises in Month 1. Shaun T is right when he says:

Shaun T and his gang are incredible, and since this month’s workout is even more intense they are using the “buddy system” to motivate each other by keeping pace with each other and offering more encouragement, which is super helpful even though I’m alone in my living room.

There are a lot more push-up exercises in this DVD and it’s just like starting all over. And just like the first few days of month 1, I need to be careful of maintaining proper form because it’s so easy to get an injury if you’re not careful. What Shaun T says about keeping your abs contracted goes far in preventing injuries. And in addition to more push-ups and squats, Shaun T also introduces more balancing exercises.

I know I’m doing better. I  And I could even put on a pair of pants I couldn’t fit into since last November. Now that’s the REAL test of progressing toward your goal!

Wednesday: Max Cardio
This isn’t like the nonstop cardio from Month 1 because there’s breaks in between each set.

Thursday: Max Recovery – more like max strength training!
I don’t know why this is called Max Recovery. There’s no cardio, you start off doing some deep stretching, then do some serious strength training. It hurts like hell because I don’t have a good warm-up to get the blood flowing. Next time I’ll do this towards the afternoon so my body won’t have to do a cold start.

Friday: Max Interval Circuit
I could hardly sleep. My hip flexors were incredibly sore from yesterday’s workout. I took aspirin before sleeping, but that didn’t help. I stretched my quads & massage the hip area, but I was so uncomfortable. This morning I woke up with a back ache and hip aches, but after a while they went away.

Today’s workout went much better than Monday’s because I didn’t have to do the fit test first! But this whole week my appetite has increased and I am craving savory stuff like meats and lot of carbs, like chocolate, crackers, and chips. It’s about that time of the month, and I’m glad the workouts are longer to at least offset some of the extra calories I’m scarfing.

Saturday: Max Interval Plyo – Second Attempt
I forgot to write about this the day I did it and am actually writing my comment a week later! All I can say is that it feels much better doing this exercise when you don’t have to do the Fit Test first. :)

a good thing to keep in mind!

image source: fitfoodieshealthylife.com

This is the final week before “Recovery Week,” which divides Month 1 from the even more intense Month 2 training. So far I’ve noticed I’ve gotten stronger, my cardio has definitely improved, and with my changed eating habits I no longer wake up with a bloated belly–what a great feeling!

Day 19: Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs – Weight loss concerns

Though my weight loss is taking its time, I’ve been really happy with my increase in strength and endurance. I came across this video clip at teambeachbody.com talking about seeing results. Though it’s aimed at P90X, I figure it can also apply to Insanity workouts: http://www.teambeachbody.com/connect/message-boards/-/message_boards/message/205114284. According to the discussion, day 19 would still be early on in the game to see results (but I do love that I can feel the results!) He mentions to cut out refined carbs and sugars to help lose weight, but I still love having some Orange Date Cake or Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins with coffee,  and peanut butter jelly toast for breakfast is my favorite!

Pure Cardio is a nonstop heart-bursting set, so again, very important to take breaks when you need to, and if you’re exercising on hardwood floors like me–mop up your sweat or move around to a dry spot, I still have a tendency to slip in my sweat, especially when doing the Level 2 drills (plank, 8 push-ups, knees in, jump up w/ arms up, back down to plank, etc.) At one point I had to stop to receive a package from the Fed Ex guy, and this gave me a nice break so I did better on the hooks w/ jump ropes (below) but it also strained my back a little! Long periods of rest feel good at first, but they’re not good if you’re doing Insanity!

Day 20: Cardio Power & Resistance – exercise, diet, and spankin’ new shoes!

I am getting better. I know this because:

1) I don’t hate Globe Jumps so much
2) Power Jacks (jumping jacks with a squat) are still tough, but I can do more
3) I can do more consecutive Power Jumps
4) I can do moving push-ups almost at the same speed at the people on the DVD!

Last week I was complaining that I wasn’t losing weight, and it’s because my calorie intake was too high. Doing Insanity may feel like you’re burning 500 calories in one workout, but for someone with a small frame like me, I only burn about 220, maybe as much as 300 if I’m doing Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs back to back. I decided to monitor my calories, not by writing down everything I eat, but sticking with low-calorie, nutrient dense foods as much as possible. I’ve been taking in 1200 – 1500 calories a day, avoiding post-dinner snacks and eating lean meats like chicken breast and fish. I know meat has protein and it’s good for your muscles, but eating more meat doesn’t always work for me (my stomach increases by 4 inches after eating red meats…it’s very uncomfortable and I get extremely tired.) So, I’m looking for alternatives. Not replacements, but just easy alternatives.

Veggie sources of protein are often high in fat and carbs (legumes, nuts) so that was not much help, either. Since protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids can be found in lots of low-calorie and nutrient dense foods, I realized I could just eat a good variety of fruits, veggies & some grains to get the same building blocks that will eventually help my muscles grow. I don’t know if this will work for me, but it seems to make sense!

I am still learning about this stuff, and I think it’s great that I don’t have to worry if I don’t get enough protein per day…there’s always aminos! Here’s an article that I found very helpful, I hope you find it helpful, too:
http://www.rawfoodia.com/raw-food-protein.html
http://www.globalhempstore.com/hemp-food/raw-protein-lean-body.html

My new shoes came in! This is what I got:

Ryka Transition Women’s Cross-Training Shoe (image source: shopping.yahoo.com)

This is my second pair of Ryka shoes. The fit was really snug at first and I was worried that I had to return it. But the mesh stretches out, so it’s snug in a comfortable way. It fits well (I’m 8 1/2) but my toes tend to get scrunched up during the warm-ups. It’s super light and I really like the style. Here’s another look at my old pair of Ryka running shoes and my broken-in pair:

The gray parts are actually black, they look much nicer in real life!

Day 21/22: Plyometric Cardio Circuit/Cardio Recovery – chilly workout!

I took Saturday off and picked up with my workout Sunday morning, including the next day’s Cardio Recovery workout. The weather’s been cooling off, and at 7 a.m. it was 45 degrees! It’s 60 degrees inside, and I didn’t sweat as much as I normally do but it did feel like I was getting a little light headed. I’m not used to working out in cooler weather, but that’s no reason for me to wimp out…especially if I’m going to stay in shape during the winter!

I’m starting to feel like I’m better at keeping up with Shaun T and the gang, though I still am not nearly as fit as they are. I still need to take breaks during ski abs and in-and-outs because my quads just get incredibly fatigued. And guess what? I lost another pound! My eating plan is working with less calories and more nutrient-dense foods. I have to keep in mind that a calorie is a calorie, so if I give myself a daily allowance I gotta make the most of it, just like the allowances we got as a kid.  Spend it all on candy? Buy some comics? Save some for later? I definitely won’t use my calorie allowance all on candy, but I know I want to invest it in something that will give me future returns, like a stronger body, better concentration, less fatigue, improved health, and a better feeling about myself. And if I have some extra calories…I’ll probably spend them on a little indulgence. :)

Day 23: Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs – tired in the morning, restless at night

I didn’t want to get up this morning. Instead of getting up at 6:30, I slept until 9:30! I was glad that I did, because I was more focused on my work and saved my Insanity workout until the afternoon.

Pure Cardio continues to kick butt, and I still take frequent breaks. Aside from doing better with push-ups (my forearms, shoulders and upper back were aching this morning!) I think I’m getting better with mountain climbers (guava pickers) but still struggling with anything that makes you jump from a squat position.

I had a hard time sleeping, though. I had peanut butter jelly toast & coffee around 10:30am, no lunch (just drinking hot tea,) then had a small bite of something before my workout at 4 pm. I ate a lot for dinner (carrot sticks, cucumbers, chicken tikka & biriyani) and am wondering if it was the food or the late workout that made it difficult to sleep?

One of my favorite dinners: chicken tikka. Chicken marinated in yogurt mixed with tomato paste, coconut milk, Indian spices and other good stuff.

Day 24: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

I did a morning workout, 60 degrees inside and I didn’t start sweating until 7 minutes into the warm up…yes, I was THAT cold! The rest of the workout went well, challenging as always and I had a nice Vanilla Cucumber Smoothie right after. It’s the last day of Month 1, tomorrow begins “Recovery Week” and I’m sure it won’t be a vacation from Insanity. :)

Do it for YOURSELF!  image source: http://pinterest.com/vitacost/fit-spiration/

Now that's progress :)

Repinned from Jenn@Peas and Crayons’ Pinterest board.

Day 13: FIT TEST!

(Note: I’ve only taken one day of rest during the first two weeks. My Day 13 is the 13th day of exercise. If I followed the Insanity calendar, the Fit Test actually falls on the 15th day, which includes rest days.)

FIT TEST!!! I covered my results from Week One’s Fitness Test so I wouldn’t let that distract me After I was done with today’s Fit Test I compared the difference after two very challenging weeks of Insanity!

I was happy with the improvements, but also wondered what the heck happened on some exercises where I either stayed the same or…did worse??

One less power jump this week! I think that huge increase in the power knees from 58 to 99 took the starch out of my shorts (so to speak.)

I’m glad I did better with push-up jacks, but will need to work on my globe jumps.

Day 14: Plyometric Cardio Circuit and that Time of the Month

I woke up really, really tired and was wondering how I would do with today’s Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I started around 8:30 a.m., did okay with the warm-ups, but felt like everything else was just too hard. I was doing better with Mountain Climbers and could maintain my “picking guava” arm motion, thanks to my improvement with push-ups! I tried to push harder and dig deeper, and it seems I’ve been doing just that the last 3 or 4 days. Today during the in-and-outs (start in plank position, hop both feet in with knees to your chest, hands on the floor, then hop feet back out back to plank position) I was having a tough time just to do 2 of them consecutively. Again, I blame myself for not getting enough sleep. My flexibility wasn’t good today, either.

After the workout I wasn’t very hungry and felt like my stomach would prefer to be left alone for the time being. I did make a protein shake and bring some chocolate chip zucchini muffins with me on my errands so I could eat when I got hungry.

Day 15: Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs, 1200 Calories per Day

I did a 9 a.m. workout, still a bit tired and I think it’s because of my period (blech!) I had some cramps during the warm-up, but they disappeared…or maybe I just didn’t notice them during the intense cardio session! My quads never seem to feel like they’re getting stronger; power jacks, squat jumps, and especially the Cardio Abs section where you jump and have to bring your knees to touch your elbows…wow, talk about challenging! I felt like a rock, as soon as I jumped up, I was already coming down.

The floor exercises were easier for me, and it felt like I worked my obliques a lot more than the abdominal muscles. One thing you should do when you’re doing the c-sit position exercises is to make sure your belly doesn’t pooch out (I learned this from Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body exercise DVDs!) Contract those muscles and make your belly nice and flat:

Keep your abs flat, make sure they don’t pooch out! Image source: http://www.fitbomb.com

I have only lost about a pound since I started, and it’s time to do the thing I hate most: count calories. It’s easy for me to eat more in the evening, especially when having a glass of wine, extra helping of dinner or grabbing the bag of chips and just crunching away. And now that I think about it, that’s nearly 50% MORE of my daily intake–yowza!

So, I’ll be limiting myself to 1200 calories a day, but will also allow an extra 300 for “emergencies.” My plan is 3 meals and 1 in-between snack, drinking more water (including tea, I don’t like plain water much,) and eating lots of low-fat, nutrient-dense foods. My main concern is getting enough protein, and I’ve been leaning towards a vegetarian diet lately. I’ve been eating yogurt every day and having meat dishes at dinner time since I cook for my husband and myself (but sometimes I cook veggie meals.) Vegetarian sources of protein are usually high in calories and fat, so I will probably need to incorporate more eggs into my diet. My protein powder has 130 calories and 14 grams of protein. Half a cup of yogurt has 70 calories and 11 grams of protein. If dinner has about 30 grams of protein, I should be good for the day.


Day 16 & 17 workouts combined: Cardio Recovery / Cardio Power & Resistance

I took an Insanity break this weekend. Saturday I got distracted making myself a pair of pajama pants and a new cat toy for Trixie (pants took me over 3 hours to make, but I love ’em!)

Sunday was spent running errands, taking a much-needed nap (my cramps were pretty bad) then spent 3 hours or so cleaning out the garden. I did limit my calories on Saturday, though Sunday I may have gone up to 1500 calories (OK for my weight maintenance, but not for weight loss.) So to make up for it, I started Monday with Cardio Power & Resistance to get the blood pumping, then did Cardio Recovery right after (the schedule has C.R. first.) This may or may not be a good idea, but since I’ve been doing Insanity for 2 weeks already, I felt it would be okay to double-up with cardio and non-cardio workouts.

My mouth seems to get pretty dry just during the warm-ups, must be all that heavy breathing! I feel like I’m doing a better job of keeping my abs in and even doing a better job of breathing. That extra power from exhaling really helps to firm up your abs so you’re more steady and feel stronger. Every little bit helps! Globe Jumps are in this routine, and I keep on saying how much I don’t like them. Well, I don’t like them less, now. :) I feel like I’m less sloppy with the jumps from side, to back, to side, to front, and I think it’s because my arms and shoulders are stronger, so I’m less tired and less sloppy.

My left ankle felt a little bit sore after doing Cardio Power & Resistance, but I ordered a new pair of Ryka shoes so that should help alleviate my foot problems. With the Cardio Recovery, there’s a series of balancing exercises toward the second half. My left leg is way more flexible and stronger than my right, and I’m not sure how to even them out, unless I do my own stretching exercises. I am not really fond of the yoga poses, probably because (I’ve said this the last time) the twisting position makes it hard to breathe.

Breakfast (10:30am): peanut butter jelly & toast w/coffee – 225 calories
Lunch (3pm): 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 2 cups chopped fruit – 300 calories
Snack (4pm): 6 corn chips, corn flakes (standing up, eating from the box!) – about 125 calories
Dinner (8pm): Light batter fried fish & Thai sweet chili sauce, quinoa, cucumbers & cucumber kimchee – 550??

Daily calories: around 1200 calories

Day 18: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

My hamstrings felt overstretched from yesterday’s exercises, and I’m surprised my back and shoulders weren’t too sore from the V-push-ups. I wonder if I did them properly? Usually if I perform an exercise routine and it’s not making me struggle, I am probably doing it with bad form to compensate for the tough workout! This DVD has a couple of plank exercises that make me want to stick my butt up to compensate for the extra work my back & abs would normally do, so when I make sure my butt is down, I feel my back working extra hard and I know I’ve been doing them wrong! Sure, I’ll be slower, but as Shaun T says, “form over speed.”

Week 3 workouts done, woo hoo!